The Humboldt-Del Norte County Prelims were a significantly small affair this year than they have been in the past.
This spring the HDNL tweeked how it runs its postseason to make for a larger HDN White Star Meet, which is scheduled for Saturday in Crescent City.
This year the White Star meet will include the top 18 athletes in each event. Participants will be chosen based off of their best marks of the year during regular season meets.
“It is different from previous years where we have used this as a qualifying meet, and these marks carried over to Redwood Empire,” said assistant coach Samuel Escobar, who made the trip to McKinleyville with the Del Norte sprinters. “This year as coaches we decided that we wanted to have our league championship meet have more significant. So we kind of combined the qualifier meet and the White Star meet so that more kids will have an opportunity to compete, and more involved.”
Only the sprinter competed in the HDN prelims this year, with the 100, 200 and 400 meter runs all taking place in McKinleyville.
“The reason that we ran heats in the 100, 200, and 400 is because those are the races that most teams end up throwing everybody in,” Escobar said. “So you end up having a lot of heats. So we just decided to have qualifying heats for those events to find the top 18 kids.”
Del Norte managed to qualify three boys and four girls for the White Star meet on Saturday. All seven of those Warriors ended up qualifying in multiple sprinting events.
“We had two goals: For all the kids to be competitive and try to improve on their previous times, and to qualify as many kids as possible,” Escobar said. “We had a good idea of which kids had the skills and marks to move on, and there weren’t really any surprises.”
Freshman Tianna Thompson led the way for the Del Norte girls, finishing in the top six and moving on in all three events in McKinleyville. Thopson finished fourth in the 100, third in the 200, and sixth in the 400. Fellow freshman Alyssa McCovey also qualified to move on in all three events, taking 11th in the 100, ninth in the 200, and eighth in the 400 with a new personal record time.
“Even though she has been ill now for almost two weeks, she still had enough stamina and skill to move on in the 100, the 200 and the 400,” Escobar said. “Alyssa McCovey also moved on in all three events.”
Junior Claire Taylor also moved on in the 100 and the 200, finishing in 15th and 16th place respectively. Junior Aliyah Capon also advanced in the 100 and the 200 taking 17th place in both races.
The Del Norte boys strongest sprinting event in McKinleyville was the 200 meter dash where Vova Sherman (fourth), Samuel Cowan (fifth) and Emmauel Nunez (18th) all qualified for the White Star meet. Cowan and Sherman also moved on in the 100 finishing in fifth and 13th place respectively.
Nunez was the only Warrior to advance in the 400 meter dash after the freshmen came in seventh overall.
Escobar said Tuesday’s meet was all about placing, rather than times, due to windy conditions in Humboldt.
“It would have been hard to improve on personal best or season best times because it is pretty windy down here, and they set it up so that they were running against a headwind for the 100 meters, and for most of the 200 meters,” he said.
Still, the Warriors ended up with four personal best efforts for the day. McCovey’s set a new PR in the 400, while Capon’s 200 time was her best ever.
Sophomore Jodie Pingree and freshman Isaiah Sherman also ran personal best times in their respective 100 meter dashes.
The rest of the Del Norte boys and girls track and field teams will be back in action at the HDN County Finals on Friday. The top placer in each event will be named the HDN champion, with the top four finishers automatically qualifying to compete at the NCS Redwood Empire Meet on May 11.
Field events scheduled to kick off on Saturday at 1 p.m. Running events are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Del Norte will also recognize its senior athletes with a short ceremony at 3 p.m.